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California community college system chancellor Jack Scott asks Santa Monica college to hold off on higher-priced classes

Los Angeles Times

California community college system chief Jack Scott

The head of California's community college system on Wednesday asked Santa Monica College to put on hold a controversial plan to offer higher-priced courses this summer while the legality of the program is determined.

Chancellor Jack Scott said he made the request in a call to college President Chui L. Tsang during which he also expressed concern about a student protest in which several people suffered minor injuries when a campus police officer discharged pepper spray at a Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday evening.

"No one likes to see something like this happen, and I expressed that it might be wise to put this matter on hold," Scott said in an interview.

The chancellor contends that Santa Monica's plan to charge more for some high-demand, core courses such as English, math and history violates state education codes. Scott has asked the state attorney general to provide an opinion, and he said a response is expected within a week.

Beyond the legal question, Scott said he fears that the plan would shut out students who can't afford the costs — expected to be about $180 per unit versus $46 per unit for state-subsidized classes.
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